There was a fire on Friday. Smoke billowed out from the trailer of a semi-truck. I read that while a few people suffered from smoke inhalation afterwards, no one was seriously hurt.
As I watched the smoke billowing out on the traffic video, I thought, that will draw rain.
It’s been a serious drought here in California. We’ve all been watching our lawns die, because we are conserving water. My town cut back on the Fourth of July fireworks because of fire concerns. We had “retro” fireworks that were small and close to the ground. Usually, the fireworks fill the sky above the college track field. And the surrounding area is prepared by being drenched with water so that no fires will break out.
What with the drought, the city had to make other water-conserving plans. So this year we bought tickets to fireworks that were moderately spectacular. As we walked back to our car at the end of the night, I said to my husband “We will always look back and remember this night, because this time it was different.”
All around the parks, there are signs saying how they are letting the grass die, but making sure water is put on our gorgeous trees. A 20-year-old tree is harder to replace than a lawn.
You can’t get 20 years in 2. Not for a tree. My town is prioritizing.
And on Friday, not quite 50 miles away, smoke was pouring into the sky from a forest fire.
Then it rained.
It never rains in July around here.
The last time it rained in July was more than a hundred years ago.
We are all very grateful for the rain. The yellow grass is turning green. The trees are dropping little branches, but are otherwise what they are used to being.
We can make our plans, and we should. Our fireworks conserved water and made sure we didn’t create a forest fire.
We could never have known or expected that rain would fall for three days in a row in July. If anyone had predicted it, we would have justifiably doubted it.
And yet it happened.
My desert-born husband doesn’t like getting wet. But Veronica and me got out our umbrellas and went to the park.
The warm rain felt so beautiful. “Mommy, this feels very special.”
“I think so too.”
There were two picnics at the park, and one of them had a sound system. We hung out where the singing was.
There was a talented rap artist performing. My peaceful town was a haven for this group. I didn’t have a chance to converse with any of this group, but I heard what they were talking about. This group was a memorial service.
From less peaceful towns, this group of adults and children had come to honor their friend Tank. Tank had died. I felt their love for him. I couldn’t tell if this was a recent death, but it felt as if it were not. The musician sang songs about perseverance and not giving up. About God and faith keeping on.
In the unexpected rain, a group huddled under their umbrellas to hear what was being said.
And I, the local stranger, under my umbrella, was touched to the heart.
I am sad for the loss of their friend Tank. I know that lives are shorter in the place that he came from. That breaks my heart.
This group didn’t expect the rain that day. But they came anyway with their microphone, sound system and bar-b-que.
That’s the miracle of this life. Needed rain can fall for three days in a row. Anything can happen.
Never give up hope.